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A long time ago (four months) on a site far, far away (roughly two clicks), a great suggestion was made. Jon Ericson came up with the idea of weekly topic challenges. For those not willing to make the one click that is now needed to get to that post, here's the gist:

  1. Users suggest various topics or themes. For example, on Earth Science, suggestions have included and .
  2. Everyone else upvotes topics or themes they like.
  3. Each week, the highest-voted suggestion becomes the weekly topic challenge. A meta post is written up giving a brief summary of the idea (with the tag, hopefully), and at the end of the week, users who asked or answered one or more questions about that topic are recognized.
  4. Repeat until everyone gets tired of the idea or everyone runs out of suggestions.

Now, we have quite a lot of diverse questions on Worldbuilding, and we sometimes have unofficial themes affecting pockets of questions within a short period of time, so it appears that from time to time Jon Ericson uses Force mind tricks to manipulate people$^1$. But generally we don't have this kind of thing.

Should we have weekly (or biweekly, if we want) topic challenges? By the way, let's agree to go or not go with the idea as a whole before suggesting specific ones.

And no, nobody is required to participate in the challenges.


$^1$ Disclaimer: To my knowledge, Jon is not a Jedi or a Sith. I think.


Update: It looks like there's quite a lot of support for this, so I think the answer is yes! I'll run these unless someone objects, and I'll start up new meta posts as soon as we have enough suggestions - hopefully this coming Monday. The post to suggest topics on is What should be the subjects of our fortnightly topic challenges?.

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    $\begingroup$ If this gets enough support, I'll use this question just as J. Musser did on Earth Science - as a place for suggestions. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Feb 9 '15 at 2:21
  • $\begingroup$ A very good idea :) $\endgroup$ – Vincent Feb 9 '15 at 4:18
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    $\begingroup$ Sounds like a fun idea. Are you volunteering to run it? :D $\endgroup$ – Tim B Feb 9 '15 at 9:58
  • $\begingroup$ @TimB Absolutely! I'll start it this Monday. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Feb 9 '15 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ Not sure what date you mean by "this Monday" but there's no reason to wait for the first one really, I just picked Monday and Tuesday since weekends tend to be quiet :) $\endgroup$ – Tim B Feb 9 '15 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ @TimB I actually meant next Monday, but I can start one right now. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Feb 9 '15 at 16:11
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    $\begingroup$ As this question is already being used for answers on how to approach this, would it be clearer to have a separate "Theme suggestions" meta post rather than posting topics as answers here? $\endgroup$ – trichoplax Feb 10 '15 at 17:30
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I think this is a good idea. I would propose we go with a two week span for each topic of interest.

Sometimes things need to stew around here and overlapping topics would be too much.

Happy to help manage it if we decide to do this.

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    $\begingroup$ I like the two weeks ideas. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Feb 9 '15 at 15:58
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I think this idea is a good one. Can we focus on some of the less used tags?

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    $\begingroup$ I like this. It'll bring attention to them :) $\endgroup$ – ArtOfCode Feb 9 '15 at 11:38
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I like this idea, and my proposal would be

Each week we pick tags that are fairly popular but haven't hit 100 questions yet. This shows that there is a reasonable amount of interest in that tag, but there are still a lot of interesting things to discuss.

That would mean the eligible candidates this week (with between 50 and 100 questions) are: , , , , and

Each week on Monday we post a question on Meta with one answer for each eligible tag. People can vote for their preferred tag.

We then start the challenge on the Tuesday using the highest voted tag and run it for either one or two weeks (I think one week is enough to be honest, then take a break before starting the next challenge) on the selected tag.

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  • $\begingroup$ I like mining the tags. This seems like it'll make work (have to do this every week); how about if the call for topics includes the tag suggestion but is also open to other ideas (themes, etc)? Anybody who wants to propose an established-but-under-utilized tag can do so. Maintain one post with all the suggestions, and at the start of each challenge pull one off. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Feb 9 '15 at 16:27
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    $\begingroup$ That works, although one suggestion per answer allows them to be voted on. We can keep one question with running votes though and take the top one each time, removing that answer as having been used. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Feb 9 '15 at 16:36
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    $\begingroup$ Tim yes, that's what I had in mind -- one "collector" question for topic suggestions, one suggestion per answer, and delete (or mark as completed) the ones that have been done. I've seen that approach on several other sites. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Feb 9 '15 at 16:39
  • $\begingroup$ Sounds good to me :) $\endgroup$ – Tim B Feb 9 '15 at 16:40

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